In April 2020, NJDEP proposed replacement of the Direct Contact Soil Remediation Standards with a new rule proposal in the New Jersey Register (see rule proposal published in the April 6 NJ Register at 52 N.J.R. 566(a)). That proposal includes replacing direct contact soil remediation standards with separate soil remediation standards for the inhalation exposure pathway and the ingestion-dermal exposure pathway. To complement the proposed rule change, a technical guidance committee, consisting of NJDEP staff and external stakeholders, has prepared a new draft guidance document titled, Alternative Remediation Standards Technical Guidance, which is currently in a comment period. The new guidance provides guidelines for development of Alternative Remediation Standards (ARS) for sites where the established default ingestion-dermal and inhalation exposure pathways may not be appropriate.
Under the new guidance, the person remediating a site will be able to modify the applicable cleanup standards based on the site land use. Potential alternative land use scenarios that could utilize an ARS include parks, conservation areas, and utility right of way areas. The guidance illustrates several examples of how an alternative land use could change the applicable standards. The common contaminant benzo(a)pyrene has a 2020 Residential Standard of 0.51 mg/kg. The guidance describes how the applicable standard could be increased up to 2.6 mg/kg in an active recreation area, 2.8 mg/kg in a passive recreation area, and 44 mg/kg in a restricted access area. Calculations will be required on a Site-specific basis and will require NJDEP pre-approval.
The new guidance will also establish ARS allowed based on physical parameters of the site, such as exposure frequency, soil organic carbon content, contaminant depth, and percent of vegetative cover.
We expect that parties performing remediation will find these ARS options most helpful when remediating volatile organic carbon in deep or organic-rich soil, remediating inorganic compounds in vegetated areas, or when conducting remediation of recreation or limited-access areas. JMS is actively engaged in reviewing new guidance document and we will be prepared to implement this guidance once it is finalized.